Guide to the Carolyn and Donald Grepke Paper Doll Collection
Digitized Content

Collection ID:
Grepke, Donald, 1932-
Grepke, Carolyn, 1937-1995
circa 1880-1998
Physical Description:
70 Cubic feet
The collection consists of paper dolls dating from circa 1880 to 1998.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of paper dolls dating from 1890-1998. The bulk of the paper dolls, however, date from the 1900s-1970s. Some of the paper dolls have been cut while others remain intact. There is also a large collection of dolls that are still contained within their original packaging. Such packaging could include the periodical or comic book in which it was published, the original box, or a folder or booklet. While a substantial amount of the paper dolls were commercially produced, there are examples of hand made dolls and clothing. The clothing for the dolls is mostly created from paper with some examples of cloth and plastic. Hand colored commercially produced dolls and clothing also exist within the collection. Special features on the dolls could include hair, plastic eyes, photographic faces, and moveable parts. The artwork aspect of the paper dolls may be of interest to researchers. The collection includes works by such paper doll artists as Queen Holden, who was renowned for her dolls of the 1930s, and Tom Tierney, who has depicted almost every celebrity of the 20th century in paper doll form. Originals and reproductions of Grace Gebbie Drayton's (1877-1936) Dolly Dingle paper dolls series, which appeared in the Pictorial Review from 1913-1933, are included among the materials. Drayton is well known for her creation and illustration of the "Campbell Kids". She illustrated a number of books and other publications and designed dolls and toys. Frances Tipton Hunter, creator of the "Little Busy Bodies" who appeared in Women's Home Companion in 1922 and 1923, career spanned from the 1920s to her death in 1957. Besides the "Little Busy Bodies" her work also appeared in a number of periodicals including the Saturday Evening Post, The Delineator, Collier's and Ladies Home Journal.
Not just seen from the perspective of artwork or playthings the serious scholar will be able to focus on a variety of topics related to the dolls. Researchers interested in fashion, popular culture, and images of women, children, or celebrities will find this collection of great value. The collection has a large representation of movie and television stars from the 1930s through the 1950s. These particular series would be of interest to research pertaining to the entertainment industry. In addition, American notions of ideal family sizes, settings, relationships, teenage life and leisure activities are represented in the collection.

The collection is divided into 14 series.
Series 1, Advertising, circa 1800-1980
Series 2, Animals, circa 1950-1995
Series 3, Celebrities, circa 1930-1995
Series 4, Characters in Literature and Folklore, circa 1920-1995
Series 5, Characters in Mass Media, circa 1935-1995
Series 6, Dolls and Toys, circa 1890-1990
Series 7, Family, circa 1880-1990
Series 8, Fashion and Costume, circa 1890-1995
Series 9, Historical Figures and Events, circa 1950-1998
Series 10, Holidays and Celebrations, circa 1930-1990
Series 11, Occupations, circa 1900-1995
Series 12, Periodicals, circa 1890-1995
Series 13, Miscellaneous Materials, circa 1890-1995
Series 14, Publications about Paper Dolls, circa 1980-1990

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Grepkes were prolific collectors of paper dolls, beginning their collecting in the 1970s.

Processing Information
Collection processed by Sarah Allan (volunteer); Ann Jones (volunteer); Sarah Knox (intern); Jenny Selby (intern), Leslie Shope (intern), 2002; supervised by Vanessa Broussard Simmons, Archivist.
Vanessa Broussard Simmons
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Center, NMAH, Smithsonian Institution, by Donald Grepke in memory of his wife Carolyn Grepke in December 2000.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
The Carolyn and Donald Grepke Paper Doll Collection, 1895-1991, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Paper dolls Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dolls Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012